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Fanfiction: Internal Battles

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S6 Nightwalkers
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Jack UST. Sam & Jonas friendship. Sam & Daniel friendship.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Internal Battles


Daniel Jackson settled gently on the wide platform within the pyramid and looked around at the vast space. It was just as he remembered it; the thin walkway over the endless canyon. He glanced over his shoulder at the crystal skull. He wasn’t certain the skull’s transference abilities would work on his new form but he needed to talk with Nick...he needed to talk with someone who wasn’t Ascended.

He had tried so hard not to watch over his team-mates, to stay away from Earth, and for the most part he had been successful. But every so often he would wander back and when he did...how could he have so much power and not help them when they were hurting? It was a question that nagged at him; nagged at him until he needed to talk about it with someone. He could have found Oma but he wasn’t in the mood for another lesson and while he loved Shifu, he still thought of him as a young child. He had always confided in Catherine Langford but he was worried about confiding in anyone back on Earth in case the Others considered that interfering. He was hoping that the other dimension that his Grandfather lived in would provide some kind of veil.

Suddenly, a rush of wind barrelled through the empty space and a large giant alien looked down at Daniel.

‘It has been a long time since one of your kind visited here.’ The alien intoned deeply.

Daniel surmised he meant Ascended beings rather than humans. ‘I’m looking for Nick.’

The alien gestured for Daniel to look behind him and evaporated.

Daniel whirled around and smiled as he took in Nick’s smiling face. ‘Nick.’

‘Daniel.’ Nick hurried over and made to grasp Daniel’s arms. His hands went through him. Nick stared at him in shock. ‘Then it is true? You are an energy being now?’

‘I am.’ Daniel’s lips twisted. ‘Sorry about...’ he waved an arm.

‘You are here!’ Nick exclaimed. ‘That is all that is important.’ His rheumy eyes settled on Daniel speculatively.

‘I needed to talk with someone.’ Daniel said hesitantly; still unsure of his welcome in some respects. He and Nick had never been close yet and Nick’s assignment to learn from the giant cloudy aliens had ensured even their reconciliation was done at a distance. Daniel had travelled back to the planet once a year to check in on him, receive the latest in Nick’s research but it left little time for personal discussions.

And although he knew some of his reasons for choosing his Grandfather had been practical, he also knew his Grandfather wouldn’t question Daniel’s need to explore Ascension because Nick understood what it was to need to do something so badly that it came before friendships and family; he understood how to look beyond the accepted boundaries and believe in something else. He’d come to Nick because his Grandfather wouldn’t try to persuade him from his journey.

Nick indicated the steps leading up to the skull and Daniel acquiesced to Nick’s silent request to sit. He helped the older man lower himself to sit.

‘So tell me, Daniel.’ Nick said gently. ‘Tell me of this Ascension.’

Daniel began to talk and before he knew it he was telling Nick everything; the accident in Kelowna, his radiation poisoning, Oma’s offer, his journey...

‘It’s all so incredible.’ Daniel concluded eventually. ‘I’m learning so much. There’s just so much we don’t know.’

‘You always did have a passion for knowledge.’ Nick commented. ‘But it is not the learning what troubles you, hmmm?’ His eyes twinkled at his grandson and he wagged a finger at him. ‘You are having trouble sticking to the rules.’

Daniel smiled sheepishly. ‘I guess.’

‘I know.’ Nick said firmly. ‘You never liked rules, Daniel.’ He rubbed his knee as though it ached. ‘Your parents gave you too few and the foster care system gave you too many.’

Daniel shrugged, uncomfortable with the topic.

‘Your childhood taught you to question rules.’ Nick continued. He gave a wide smile. ‘And that is not a bad thing.’ He gestured around them. ‘It was the reason why you would not accept what everyone else believed about the pyramids; it brought you through the Stargate.’

‘It’s hard, Nick.’ Daniel confessed in a rush. ‘I see the people I love in danger, hurting, and I want to help them but I...’ he sighed heavily, ‘I’m not allowed.’

Nick regarded him solemnly. ‘Your gift is being able to look beyond the rules, Daniel; to think outside of them.’ He reached out to pat Daniel’s knee and stopped, realising it would go straight through him. He withdrew with a rueful smile and gestured weakly instead. ‘Use it.’

Daniel nodded slowly. Look beyond the rules; think outside of them. It was good advice. He smiled at Nick. ‘Thanks.’

‘You are welcome, Daniel.’ Nick struggled to his feet.

‘I wish I could help you.’ Daniel admitted, standing up. He was suddenly aware of how old Nick was; his fragility.

Nick waved away his apology.

‘I won’t see you again, will I?’ Daniel realised as he faced the older man.

‘My journey is coming to an end.’ Nick said with a smile. ‘And yours must continue.’

Daniel could see there was no fear in Nick’s expression; just acceptance.

‘Remember: I am proud of you, Daniel.’ Nick said.

There was another rush of wind through the huge pyramid and Nick disappeared before Daniel could reply. He blinked back the sting of tears in his eyes as he looked around the empty cavern. ‘Goodbye, Grandpa.’

o-O-o

Lunch was almost over. Samantha Carter scraped the last of the blue Jello from the dessert dish and pushed it to one side of her tray. She glanced at the cake Jonas Quinn had chosen and frowned. It was the usual choice of their team leader but Jack O’Neill remained with the Tok’ra awaiting another host for the symbiote he carried – the symbiote who had saved his life. Her eyes glanced off the empty chair next to Teal’c and she felt a pang of yearning.

She missed him. It had been almost three weeks since they had left him with the Tok’ra. General Hammond had reported their last contact five days before had confirmed they had been promised the safe return of the Colonel within days. Sam feared the Tok’ra’s view of what constituted an acceptable number of days was somewhat far removed from their own.

She hid the grimace that sprang to her lips as a wave of resentment rushed through her. She had hated leaving the Colonel alone with the Tok’ra; hated that their allies had insisted on it. They had always promised never to leave one of them behind and, despite the Colonel’s agreement to it all, she couldn’t help but believe that that’s what they’d done; left him behind. It didn’t feel right knowing he was alone.

Moreover, she knew he hadn’t really wanted the Tok’ra symbiote despite the fact that it had been the only way to save his life. He’d only taken it because vital information had been at stake. But the last time they had spoken before SG1 had been ordered home, the Colonel had seemed accepting of allowing the Tok’ra sometime to find another host believing he owed the symbiote a chance given it had cured him. The symbiote had promised to keep the Colonel in a deep sleep so he would be unaware of his blending and unaware of the passage of time.

She just wanted him home.

Maybe, she considered wryly, they could compare symbiote experiences. Her neck itched and she rubbed at the faint scar left by the Goa’uld symbiote forced upon her during the mission in Steveston. It had healed the entry wound and Janet Fraiser had surmised that ultimately it would fade leaving no sign of her ordeal behind. Sam shuddered faintly as her stomach churned uneasily. She hoped the mental scars would fade as fast.

They had knocked her out with chloroform and she was thankful for that. She had had no memory of the Goa’uld actually entering her body; the physical pain of the implantation. Her previous experience with the Tok’ra symbiote Jolinar had at least prepared her for finding the Goa’uld in her mind as its presence had quickly eliminated the drug and it had allowed her to remain silent and hidden as she waited for the antibiotic to take effect. Despite that, the mental rape of knowledge and memories had been as devastating as it had been with Jolinar. It had been gleeful at finding her an ex-Tok’ra host with naquadah in her blood which would enable it operate Goa’uld technology, unlike the other clones, who had been bred without naquadah, inhabiting the bodies of the Steveston population. It had quickly started to make plans to make itself the leader. The antibiotic had taken only minutes to work but each minute had felt like an hour. The symbiote had simply stopped mid-thought in its world domination plans.

Sam hadn’t been completely assured though until she had seen the MRI and the evidence that the symbiote was breaking down inside her body. Janet was trying to work out how the antibiotic was able to kill the symbiote without it releasing the usual deadly toxins. Sam believed it was a combination of the clones’ genetic alterations and the speed at which the antibiotic worked. It seemed months after Adrian Conrad had kidnapped her to work out how to survive a Goa’uld possession his own project had provided the answer. If he’d had the time to wait, Conrad would have succeeded in curing himself using a symbiote and in surviving the experience.

It was a pity, Sam mused, that they hadn’t known about the NID operation or the symbiotes when the Colonel had been so in need of a cure. He could have stayed on Earth, given a symbiote and the antibiotic could have been administered as soon as he was cured. But she doubted he would have accepted the idea given his deep abhorrence at the idea of being possessed by a Goa’uld. She couldn’t blame him. The idea turned her stomach and she wasn’t sure she would opt for it either if she was seriously ill. At least the Tok’ra symbiote had been able to make the process as painless as possible for the Colonel.

‘You OK?’ Jonas’s concerned question interrupted Sam’s introspection.

She breathed in deeply and nodded. ‘I’m fine.’ She ignored the innate compassion in her team-mate’s eyes. Jonas was a bright, intelligent man and she liked him, she did, but...

But he wasn’t Daniel Jackson. She missed the archaeologist fiercely. Daniel would have known without asking that she wasn’t fine; that she missed Jack; that she was struggling to handle having another symbiote foisted on her...he would have helped her through it all...but he wasn’t around anymore.

Sam stood up abruptly. ‘I’ve got some work to do in my lab. I’ll see you both later.’ She walked away without waiting for either Jonas or Teal’c to reply. She stowed her tray and headed out of the cafeteria.

Her neck itched again.

Her stomach roiled.

Sam detoured from the elevators into the nearest bathroom. She barely made it to the toilet before she vomited her lunch into the porcelain bowl. She washed up and rinsed her mouth out, trying to ignore how her hands trembled as they splashed water on her face. She gazed at her pale image in the mirror.

Janet had already hinted that Sam might need to spend time with the base psychiatrist. Sam had refused, claiming she barely remembered anything about being possessed. She grimaced. She could handle it. She could. She just needed the Colonel home and she would be able to handle anything.

o-O-o

‘You know I don’t think Sam is as fine as she claims.’ Jonas commented to Teal’c.

The Jaffa raised an eyebrow. ‘Major Carter is a formidable warrior.’

Jonas caught the defensive edge to his friend’s voice and raised a hand in surrender. ‘I just meant that it must have been tough to experience being a host even for a short period.’

Teal’c’s chin lifted as he acknowledged Jonas’s words. ‘Perhaps you are right, Jonas Quinn.’

Jonas wiped his mouth with a paper napkin, screwed it up and tossed it on his tray. ‘I’m not sure how I would handle it.’

‘Major Carter’s actions saved you from such a fate.’ Teal’c said.

‘Undoubtedly.’ Jonas shifted on the hard plastic chair. There was no doubt Sam had saved him from enduring the same experience she had. He understood she had acted the way she had to keep the Goa’uld in the dark to her own state; that the words she had spoken had been meant to keep him and Teal’c from harm only...

The humans don’t really trust him.’

She hadn’t meant it, Jonas reminded himself. She had said it just to keep him safe from becoming a host. ‘Do you think she meant it?’ he blurted out.

Teal’c looked at him inquisitively.

‘About the whole, you know,’ Jonas waved a hand, ‘trust thing.’

His friend didn’t immediately answer and Jonas felt his stomach drop.

‘Right.’ He muttered.

‘Trust is earned, Jonas Quinn.’ Teal’c said gently. ‘You have done much to earn that trust...’

‘But I need to do more.’ Jonas completed. He crossed his arms over his chest, pulling the t-shirt taut over his muscles. He had known the answer before Teal’c had spoken and he couldn’t really blame anyone for his situation. His arrival on Earth hadn’t been in the best of circumstances; lying about Daniel Jackson’s involvement in the incident which had ultimately led to the other man’s departure from the programme, his own betrayal of his government...these weren’t the actions of someone trustworthy. Jonas felt shame wash over him again.

He was making progress in making amends: he’d been assigned to SG1, helped Earth survive an attack from Anubis, helped save his new team. But he would need to do more.

‘It took many months perhaps years before I was fully trusted and even now there are some amongst the Tau’ri who continue to doubt my intentions.’ Teal’c said. ‘So it will be with you.’

‘You’re right.’ Jonas agreed with a brisk nod. ‘I know you’re right.’ He smiled. ‘I guess I’d just hoped that it wouldn’t take so long.’

Teal’c inclined his head and got to his feet. ‘If you’ll excuse me, I am in need of kel no reem.’

Jonas nodded and watched his friend leave; he suspected Teal’c would stop by the Major’s lab to check on her. He picked up the apple he had saved for the finish of his meal and bit into it. The sharp tang filled his mouth and he chewed appreciatively.

‘Jonas.’ Nyan, his Bedrosian friend, sat down with a full tray. ‘I did not expect to see you.’

Jonas smiled at the friendly archaeologist. ‘I’m just finishing.’ He gestured at Nyan’s full tray. ‘Hungry?’

‘I have not eaten all day.’ Nyan admitted. ‘SG9 came back with a wonderful find from P9Y654: a golden tablet with many hieroglyphs. Doctor Coombs and I have been performing tests all morning.’

Jonas listened as Nyan enthused about the tablet as he ate the apple. He placed the core on top of the rest of the rubbish.

‘Listen to me babble on.’ Nyan rolled his eyes. ‘What of you? How was the mission to Steveston?’

‘Interesting.’ Jonas provided a succinct summary of events.

‘That is incredible.’ Nyan murmured. ‘That the Goa’uld symbiotes could act in concert in such a manner to build a spaceship.’

‘It’s fascinating. All they originally wanted was to go home.’ Jonas paused and leaned forward. ‘Nyan, have you ever considered going back to Bedrosia?’

‘I have not.’ A pained look entered Nyan’s eyes and Jonas gave an apologetic grimace.

‘I’m sorry.’ Jonas said. ‘I shouldn’t have...’

‘No, no.’ Nyan hurried out. ‘It is just that the question surprised me.’ He stared down at his food for a long moment. ‘I cannot go back. My people are not ready for the truth.’

‘So you consider Earth your home now?’ Jonas pressed.

‘I do.’ Nyan agreed. He pointed his fork at Jonas. ‘May I ask the same question to you?’

Jonas sighed. ‘I can’t go back either.’ He gave a small shrug. ‘My people consider me a traitor.’ He looked at Nyan. ‘Teal’c plans to go back to Chulak eventually. He still considers it his home not Earth.’

Nyan looked surprised. ‘I had not considered that before.’ He gave a sigh. ‘I will miss him when that time comes. He has become a good friend. But I understand it. I am allowed to have an apartment in town; Teal’c is not.’

‘Because of his symbiote.’ Jonas thought out loud. He pressed his lips together. ‘I wonder if I’ll get permission for an apartment one day.’

‘You are fully human, Jonas.’ Nyan pointed out. ‘I’m sure it is just a matter of time.’

Time and trust, Jonas mused. He gave a wide smile and got up from the table. ‘I should get back to the translations I left undone before Steveston.’

Nyan waved him goodbye and Jonas made his way out of the commissary. He walked lost in thought and it was with some surprise that he found himself outside the Major’s lab. He almost turned around, embarrassed, but Sam caught sight of him and waved him inside.

‘Jonas,’ Sam said, continuing to tap away at her computer, ‘did you need something?’

‘I, uh, I...’

She turned around as he stumbled over his words. Her face creased with amusement at his hesitation.

Jonas took a breath. ‘I just wanted to check you were OK.’

A flicker of annoyance shot through her blue eyes. ‘I said I was fine, Jonas.’ Her tone had cooled considerably.

‘You went through quite an experience.’ Jonas countered, taking his courage into his hands.

‘Nothing I haven’t been through before.’ Sam shot back, her eyes on her monitor.

‘Look,’ Jonas said determinedly, ‘I know you don’t really trust me yet, I get that, but I want you to know that if you need to talk I’m here.’ He waited a beat and when she didn’t reply he made to leave.

‘Jonas.’

Her call stopped him from taking another step and he turned back around to find her looking at him solemnly, her hand absently tracing the edge of her desk.

‘I know we were joking about it earlier but you do know everything I did and said back in Steveston was just for show, don’t you?’ Sam said firmly. ‘I didn’t mean any of it.’

Jonas could see the sincerity in her face and he could hear it in her voice. Relief trickled through him.

He nodded a little jerkily. ‘OK.’ He offered a bright smile.

She smiled bravely, fleetingly. ‘And really; I’m fine.’

He nodded again. He pointed over his shoulder. ‘I should...’

‘Actually, Jonas,’ Sam seemed to come to some decision, ‘I think I’m going to go home early; get some rest. Would you mind taking a meeting this afternoon with Doctor McKay on the latest naquadria results?’

‘Sure.’ Jonas took the file. ‘I understand Doctor McKay is working on a way of channelling the power into a buffer to gain some control over the power ratios?’

‘Yeah.’ Sam grimaced. ‘It’s a good idea.’

Jonas’s lips twitched. She didn’t sound pleased. ‘I believe he based it on your work with the weapon on Velona.’

‘Oh.’ Sam made a face. ‘I didn’t know that.’

Jonas suppressed his smile and held up the file. ‘Have a good rest.’ He walked out. He knew the file and the meeting were her way of saying she trusted him. And maybe she did: with the naquadria, as part of the team. Maybe it was just too soon for her to confide in him as a friend but maybe it would come in time. Jonas sighed as he took the stairs to Daniel Jackson’s office – his office. He just had to be patient and give it time.

o-O-o

Sam stood in the control room watching the Stargate. It erupted in a splash of blue and white before it settled back into a blue puddle.

A hissing snake, as large as a fully grown python writhed out of the event horizon and into the gate room.

Personnel ran from the room.

‘Lock it down!’ General Hammond ordered as another snake slithered out of the wormhole.

She couldn’t move; couldn’t look away as the snakes fought. Hissing and snarling at each other.

It was a dream, Sam thought desperately, just a dream and...

And when she looked around she was alone. The control room was empty. Whichever snake won would come for her next...it would come for her next and there was no-one...not Daniel, not the Colonel...no-one to help her...

‘I’m here.’ Daniel said.

Sam’s head snapped around and she stared at her former team-mate. He stood just behind her as usual; dressed in the blue BDUs he always favoured, the shirt open over a black t-shirt. He smiled at her.

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’ Sam said slowly. ‘You’re dead.’

‘Ascended.’

‘Same difference.’ Sam said accusingly. ‘You’re not here.’

‘Well, I am here.’ Daniel pointed out.

‘This is a dream.’ Sam turned back to the battle in the gate room between the two spitting serpents.

‘Really? I was thinking nightmare.’ Daniel pushed his hands in the pockets of his pants.

Sam didn’t answer him; she couldn’t, her throat was choked up with tears she wouldn’t shed.

‘You went through something incredibly frightening.’ Daniel murmured. ‘Again.’ He stressed. ‘It’s no wonder your subconscious is battling it out here.’ He indicated the snakes.

‘Thank you but Janet is already lining up a shrink for me.’ Sam bit out.

‘I’m not here to be your shrink,’ Daniel paused, ‘although that would have been an idea,’ he looked at her compassionately, ‘I’m here as your friend.’ He waved a hand toward the gate room and the snakes disappeared.

‘As easy as that?’ Sam shook her head. ‘I can feel it in my body and my skin crawls and...’

Daniel hushed her as he tugged her into a hug.

She buried her face in the heavy material of his shirt and cried. ‘I miss you. Why don’t you come back?’

‘Can’t.’ Daniel said sadly.

‘Won’t.’ Sam contradicted as she stepped back.

‘This is something I have to do, Sam.’ Daniel said. He looked around the control room. ‘I do miss this. You.’

She snorted inelegantly as she swiped at her eyes.

‘Teal’c,’ Daniel continued, ‘Jack.’

Her eyes sharpened on his. ‘Do you know...’

‘About him taking the symbiote?’ Daniel nodded. ‘You know you and he have that in common: you’ve both been a host to both a Goa’uld and a Tok’ra symbiote.’

‘Woo-hoo!’ Sam said sarcastically.

‘It’ll help him when he comes home.’ Daniel chastised.

‘We had to leave him, Daniel.’ Sam sighed. ‘He’s all alone...’

‘He won’t be alone anymore.’ Daniel said firmly. He held her gaze. ‘I promise you that. I won’t leave him.’

Sam nodded slowly.

Daniel wet his lips. ‘Speaking of Jack, I should go.’

‘Right.’ Sam sighed. ‘I’m not going to remember this when I wake up am I?’

‘Nope.’ Daniel admitted with a half-smile. ‘But you will feel better about...everything.’

Sam moved to hug him goodbye.

The phone rang loudly in her ear.

Sam’s eyes snapped open; her heart beating fast. She looked through the darkness to the bedside table. Jack. Maybe there was news of the Colonel...

One hand reached for the light as the other reached for the phone. ‘Hello.’

‘Do you know how difficult it is to track down your number?’ McKay replied in response. ‘I had to get the SGC to put me through!’

‘McKay?’ Sam looked at the clock and slumped back on the bed. ‘Do you know what time it is?’

‘Uh? Oh. Never mind!’ McKay jumped to the reason for the call. ‘I’m in Steveston. Have you seen the spaceship those Goa’uld were building? I think we can use some of the engine room parts. I talked about it with your alien guy...’

‘He has a name, McKay!’ Sam protested.

‘Right. Joe.’

‘Jonas.’

‘Who cares? The point is...’

‘I care and the point is we’ll talk about this in the morning.’ She put the phone down and waited.

It didn’t ring

Maybe McKay had got the message. She sighed and turned the light off. She frowned into the darkness. Her neck no longer itched. She shrugged the thought away. Maybe she would talk to the General in the morning: she was tired of waiting for news. They should contact the Tok’ra and request the Colonel be returned home; host or no host. They’d had long enough. Her mind decided; she slipped back to sleep.

o-O-o

Daniel stood by the Stargate as Kanan reached the DHD. The device was bathed in moonlight. Daniel searched the darkness to see if anyone pursued the Tok’ra. No-one had. No-one had noticed Kanan leaving as the symbiote had intended. It had walked out of the Tok’ra base with a purpose. Daniel didn’t know what it was but he could sense this was more than just boredom or needing to get out for some air.

Kanan began to dial.

Daniel frowned as the symbols lit up. He recognised the address: it was a planet owned by Ba’al. Why was Kanan going there? Ba’al was one of the most ruthless of the System Lords; his cruelty legendary. What reason could Kanan have for going to Ba’al?

The possibilities sent waves of fear and anger through Daniel. He saw the wormhole engage; the swoosh of the backwash illuminating the area in front of the Stargate.

Kanan stepped forward.

Daniel almost revealed himself. He should stop him; do something, Daniel mused silently. But he didn’t move. If he stopped Kanan it would be interfering; a blatant breaking of the rules unlike the subtlety he had used in creeping into Sam’s dream. He watched as Kanan disappeared into the blue. Daniel didn’t hesitate: he followed. Perhaps he couldn’t do anything to actively stop Kanan but he could keep the promise he’d made; he could stay with Jack.

He would be with his friend whatever happened.

fin.

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